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tonight on "nightline," targeting women. lights off, guns blazing. a lonely, tortured man opens fire at a gym class and his blog post is marked by rejection. bill is back.
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two u.s. journalists celebrate an emotional reunion with their families and former president bill clinton is the diplomatic. will this threaten president obama's foreign policy? and idol no more. so long paula. and farewell to her bizarre behavior and bickering with simon. the nicest judge kisses television's biggest show good-bye. but why and what's next? captions paid for by abc, inc. tonight on "nightline," targeting women. lights off, guns blazing. a lonely, tortured man opens fire at a gym class and hiog post is good evening. it was an horrific scene. an aerobics class at a suburban fitness center outside of pittsburgh suddenly interrupted by darkness and gunfire. three women left for dead. nine injured. before the latest rampage ended in the shooter's suicide.
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this time, there was no personal connection between the gunmen and his target. instead, an accumulated sense of anger and hatred, fuelled by decades of rejection by women. hatred that he reported in his own words and then exported in his own lethal actions. as john berman now reports. >> police say george sodini had no relationship with any of the women he shot here. george sodini said he had no relationship with any women at all. it was a lonely, lonely man behind this bloody, brutal act. >> i just couldn't believe it. like i couldn't believe it. i just ran. >> i thought i was going to die last night along with the other people. >> he came in, shut the lights off like a coward and started shooting. >> it was an act, perhaps months or years in the making. >> he had a hatred r women.
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>> we know that because he tried to tell us in a lling rder. murder.ng why do this to yng girls he asks? dec dember of 2008, no girlfriend since 1984. who knows why. i'm not ugly or too weird. no sex since july 1990 either. >> first thing that comes to mind really is the pain that he was in. the fact that he was so isolated and angry and upset, and ultimately how much pain he was experiencing from not having relationships. >> the l.a. fitness club member fretted over appearance. december 29, 2008, just got back from tanning. been doing this for a while. i actually look good. i dress good and am clean shavba, the, d touch of cologne and yet 30 million women rejected me over an 18 or 25-year period that's how i see it. flying solo for many years is a destroyer. >> i think the gym for him became sort of the focal point
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of the rejection of the pain, of the just not being able to get where he wanted to go in terms of being socially accepted and hang a socially interactive life. >> his neighbors noticed something odd. >> he was kind of a reclusive person. so i'm not sure that i would pick up on him looking troubled. i kind of always thought he was a little, you know, different. so to speak. he came and went at odd hours. >> it was probably three or four days ago, and we noticed him sitting on the driveway. >> how long was he sitting there? >> i don't know. we were going past and we came -- >> not in a chair, on the driveway? >> yeah. just a strange fella. >> i never knew he was that -- that bad off. i would have been invited him over more, you know? maybe to have coffee or to have a picnic or something. >> he said he first considederlf
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2008. but in january of 2009, he actually came close. >> i brought the loaded gun, everything. but by july, he was back at it. girls and women don't give me a second look anywhere. there is something b blatantly wrong with me and no [ bleep ] person will tell me what it is. >> he clearly resented the women who had rejected him or resented women in general because they weren't willing or able to have a relationship with him. >> then this week, i took off today, monday, and tomorrow to practice my routine and make sure it's well polished. i need to work out every detail. there is onl oy one shot. he had circled a calendar with a schedule of the all-female latin pact dance class.y tuesday, he takes thrhree tripsn and out of the gym, and the third is dead. the last blog entry is simpply - death lives. the dance class tuesday had
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begun with such joy. the instructor mary primus delivering good news. >> she just announced that night that she's pregnant and it would be her class last class. >> at around 8:00 p.m., sodini walks in the back of the room wearing gym clothes. he turns out the lights and opens fire. chaos. he fires three handguns, 36 shots, leaving three women dead, nine injured before shooting himself. it was a moment of pure terror. >> it was the loudest pops i have ever heard. i just needed out of there. i thought i was going to get shot for sure. >> lisa myl and stacey falk survived. >> i saw him shooting around the room. >> mary primus the pregnant instructor survived despite being shot twice. >> i don't understand how anybody could plan to do something like that. >> the second one came through her back, shoulder. and hit her scapula.
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it went through the lungs to the heart, but the scapula miraculously acted as like body armor and pushed the bullet down. >> her unborn child is okay. police say they found a note on sodini similar to his blog. >> he complains about he's never spent a weekend with a girl. he's -- he's never vacationed with a girl. he never lived with women. he's maybe had sex a few times in his life. >> lonely, yes. in pain, certainly. but there is now the pain surrounding the death of three women. heidi overmeier, 46, was a single mother to a 15-year-old son. >> the world lost a wonderful person last night. and heaven gained a good one. >> elizabeth betsey gannon worked a at hospital. >> betsey -- her smile was c can -- contagious. >> jody billingsley liked tending to her yard.
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>> she was nice and sweet and friendly. >> what are the loose ends here? police say they don't know for sure whether anyone even read george sodini's blog. the fbi is now looking into i. if someone had been reading it, authorities say they should have said something to somebody and then perhaps something could have been done to ease his debilitating, dangerous and now deadly pain. i'm john berman for "nightline" in bridgeville, pennsylvania. >> john berman reporting on a crime that's become all too familiar. our thanks. changing gear, when we come back, an emotional homecoming for two american journalists and the delicate diplomacy that led to their safety. five co-workers are working from the road using a mifi, a mobile hotspot that provides up to five shared wifi connections. two are doloading the final final revised final presentation.
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♪y a mother reunited with her daughter and husband. a sister returned to her family.
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president obama said today he was extraordinarily relieved that north korea had pardoned laura ling and euna lee. but the negotiations which included former president bill clinton as travelling emissary were not without the current administration's involvement. a fact which may have future consequences. but for now, widespread relief. as kate snow reports. >> 4 1/2 months in captivity, 15 1/2 hours in the air, and it was finally over. >> welcoming home laura ling and euna lee. >> the tears, the embrace of family and friends, and the moment that said more than any words could. euna lee's 4-year-old daughter hannah refusing to let go. laura ling spoke first about the fear they had lived with after being convicted of illegally crossing into north korea. >> we feared that at any moment we could be sent to a hard labor
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camp. >> but in a single surprise moment, everything changed. >> suddenly, we were told that we were going to a meeting and when we walked through the door, we saw standing before us president bill clinton. we were shocked. but we knew instantly in our hearts that the nightmare of our lives was finally coming to an end. >> euna lee returned home today to spend some quality time with the daughter who had been asking for her mommy all these months. >> thank you so much for your
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support. >> laura ling was exhausted but healthy. she told her sister lisa ling, a contributor to "nightline," that there were rocks in the rice they were given, but at least they had food. the past coue of weeks were the hardest. >> we hadn't spoken with her in more than two weeks. and the swedish ambassador had not seen laura and euna for well over a month. so we had absolutely no idea of their physical condition or their mental condition really. so to actually see them in person descending from those steps was just the most incredible feeling we have ever experienced. >> lisa ling had been the public face 06 -- of the campaign to release them since march while a delicate negotiation played out between washington and pyongyang. the two women were accused of crossing the border while filming a piece about the defectors in china for al gore's tv. >> they never intended to cross the border. you know, as journalists, when you're in the field, you know,
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you never know what is going to arise and things can be unpredictable. >> north korea sentenced them to 12 years of hard labor. in july, laura called her family to deliver a message from the north koreans. >> she said that it was her sense or her feeling that a visit from president clinton would be successful in securing their release. >> the north koreans had told the journalists they would be granted amnesty if the former president came to p-- pyongyang. >> and clinton's mission was not political, the white house insisted. but kim jong il got the attention and respect he was looking for. >> the north koreans say there was an apology on behalf of former president clinton.
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>> the last question is that's not true. >> secretary clinton emphasized that north korea had not found a new diplomatic partner. >> we have successfully completed a humanitarian mission that was a private mission that was undertaken by my husband and we're very relieved about that. but now we have to go back to the ongoing efforts to try to enlist the north koreans in discussions that the world wants to see them participate in. >> but today at least, diplomacy took a back seat to celebration. >> the reunion that we have all seen on television i think is a source of happiness, not only for the families, but for the entire country. >> this has been an ordeal for them, but i want you all to know, your families have been unbelievable. euna, hannah has been a great girl whi you were gone. and laura, your mom has been
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making your special soup for two days now. >> chinese watercress soup with herbs. it was part of the feast today, celebrating a remarkable reunion. i'm kate snow for "nightline" in los angeles. >> a welcome homecoming indeed. thanks to kate snow. and when we come back, why did popular judge paula abdul decide she'll not be moving on in theamerican idol" competition? geico's been saving people money on car insurance for over 70 years. and who doesn't want value for their dollar? been true since the day i made my first dollar. where is that dollar? i got it ut to show you... uhh... was it rather old and wrinkly? yeah, you saw it? umm fancy a crisp? geico. fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more on car insurance. - alex makes an unfortunate discovery. - oh no!
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she was never as caustic as simon, but she was a crucial
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judge on "american idol." but next season, there will be no paula abdul. she announced by twitter that she was quitting the most popular show on television. why has she walked away from a multimillion dollar contract, and is she planning on taking her talents elsewhere? cynthia mcfadden reports. >> it was the late-night tweet heard around the world and today the entertainment shows were buzzing. >> paula abdul is out of "american idol." >> it appears that paula is saying bye-bye to idol. >> fox issued a statement saying they are saddened that she's decided not to return to the show. even the show's host, ryan seacrest who signed his own deal with idol for a staggering $35 million said he didn't see it coming. >> the news that paula abdul is
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leaving "american idol" stunned me last night. >> the negotiations may have come down the wire as the show's chief protagonist -- >> what -- >> and abdul's on-screen sparring partner. >> i have no idea what that meant. >> chris, i'm -- oh, paula. >> simon cowell said only two weeks ago on "extra" paula was staying. >> she'll be fine. she'll be on the show. >> but she's not. the nice judge. the one who alwa had a kind word for contestants is out. >> there's no doubt america is loving you right now. >> was it money? reports about abdul's salary have varied widely, with claims she's made as much as $2 million to $4 million a year. >> she's trying to make it all like it was all negotiations, it was about money or other things. really this was just about her and producers not wanting to work with her anymore. >> it was only four months ago that i sat down with paula abdul
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in los angeles for a rare, exclusive interview. it was toward the end of the idol season and paula made it clear she wanted to stay. so do you want to stay on the show or not? >> i love the show. i do. i love what i do on the show. and i'm loving it more this season than ever. it's taken a while to get comfortable in my own skin. >> eight years maybe, yeah. >> yeah. finally on my last year of the contract i'm having the best time of my life. >> this is "american idol"! >> the industry experts believe that producers are taking a big risk in changing a winning cast. so why did she leave? >> because of her erratic behavior. saying things that made her seem out of it and out of the -- under the influence of something. >> you're ridiculous. i want to squish you, squeeze your head off and dangle you from my rear view more report. >> all of and these things contributed to -- to her not being worth the price she is asking for. >> i asked her about that back
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in april. let me ask you straight up, so we have it crystal clear. you have not abused drugs? >> never, never. >> you have never consumed alcohol before going on the air? >> never. i have never been drunk in my life. i don't like -- it's not my thing. >> back in april we talked about this year's new judge, songwriter kara dioguardi. >> a right. >> abdul said she did not think that she was brought in to replace her. but the way she was hired may indicate a rift was building between paula and idol producers. so were you consulted before they added the fourth judge? >> um, well, yes. want to know when? i just got out of the hospital this past august. i had three days to pack and go on the road. i found out on the way to the airport. >> to the season's auditions? >> to go to the first city. >> were you mad? >> i -- i thought that
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respectfully all of us as a group -- maybe we can figure this out together. >> further indications of a strained relationip between paula and idol producers surfaced when ab obsessed -- when an obsessed fan was permitted to audition. she says over her objections. >> i don't think any of us on earth can sing with that much metal in your mouth anyway. u have so much metal in your mouth. >> can i do another song to show you something different? >> no. no. >> the woman committed suicide last fall in front of abdul's house. paula talked to barbara walters a few weeks afterwards on her program. >> i said this girl is a stalker and please, do not let her in. there were people -- everyone knew, i was shaking. and they thought it would -- for entertainment value -- >> who's they? >> producers. >> you mean they put you in peril because it would be fun?
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>> fun, neat, fun for them to cause me stress. >> did you warn the show that this was someone who had been stalking you? >> i'm not at liberty to speak about this right now because it's still an ongoing police investigation. it's tragic. there will be a day when i can talk about it. there will be a day. i -- i just can't do it now. >> that day may be coming on. >> and we did reach out to ms. abdul but she had no additional comment. our thanks to cynthia. when we come back, vladimir putin, shirtless in siberia. the subject of tonight's "closing argument."
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tv
Nightline
ABC August 5, 2009 11:35pm-12:05am EDT

News/Business. Cynthia McFadden, Terry Moran, Martin Bashir. In-depth reporting on news and events with Cynthia McFadden, Terry Moran and Martin Bashir. New. (HD) (CC)

TOPIC FREQUENCY Paula Abdul 5, Geico 5, North Koreans 4, North Korea 4, Clinton 3, Us 3, John Berman 3, Abdul 3, Bill Clinton 3, Euna Lee 3, Los Angeles 2, Pyongyang 2, U.s. 2, Sodini 2, George Sodini 2, Obama 2, Hannah 2, Michael 2, Lisa Ling 1, Emails 1
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